The Crop Circle Connector has issued a statement in which it accuses photographer Steve Alexander of complicity in the faking of a crop circle photograph. This image was subsequently sent to the Connector as misleading evidence to support the appearance of a new circle.
Here’s the piece in full, interspersed with some observations.
We have news of a disturbing trend increasing the crop circle world. The Crop Circle Connector relies on members of the public for information about possible crop circles around the UK. The Connector receives hundreds of reports each year relating to possible sightings and we attempt to investigate these reports in order to bring our audience the latest news, images and videos of the crop circles.
Our research team work tirelessly to ensure you receive only genuine information, however, we have had an increasing number of reports that are aimed at deceiving the tens of thousands of people who make up the Crop Circle Connector audience. We would like to draw your attention to one of these deceptions in this article:
We received an email from someone that claimed to have found a crop circle and had taken a photo of it. See picture 1.
At first glance the crop circle looks interesting, a very clean design and something that our audience would certainly enjoy seeing. We were about to contact our drone pilots when one of our researchers became suspicious of the image that had been emailed to us. Our researcher was convinced that the image was a photoshopped fake of a crop circle and not a genuine image at all.
The Croppie is surprised this circle was taken at face value as it is exceedingly neat in its construction. Too neat, the edges of the standing areas of crop in the centre are remarkably tidy. It also looks too ‘clean’ around the tramlines (albeit with one exception where the angles of the tramlines are out). The whole thing just doesn’t sit right in the image … it’s too precise.
Why would the person emailing in do this? What were they aiming for? If indeed the image was fake it would appear that the person emailing in was hoping we would share the picture with our large audience in order to deceive them with a fake circle photograph.
There is irony here at two levels. One, The Croppie knows that various Websites and photographers including Steve Alexander have received false reports of new crop circles.
Two, the Connector cries foul although one of its photographers has been an active circle maker in the past. It was only at a later date this person admitted to having hoaxed certain circles, yet they still appear in the Connector’s archive without comment. Furthermore, another member of the Connector’s staff was apparently responsible for facilitating the presence of spectators at the creation of a crop circle at Chisbury in 2010. It doesn’t carry any information on its pages about that. Come on, let’s be real about this. The Connector isn’t entirely devoid of its own deceptive moments.
Before we would commit to dispatching a drone pilot we wanted to be sure one way or another that the circle was real. Our research team spent several minutes scrolling through the Crop Circle Connector archive and soon found another circle that was in this very location on the 11th of July 2007! – Hat Gate Cottage, Wooton Rivers, near Savernake Forrest, Wiltshire, UK. Reported on the 11th of July, 2007.
We managed to find images on another website of the crop circle from 2007 and it was immediately obvious that these images were the base images used to create the fake photoshop images. The original photographs were taken by a well known crop circle photographer back in 2007. Also it is felt, by photoshop users we asked, that these fakes could have only been created by using the original full resolution photos.
Here is the accusation. What evidence is there of Steve Alexander’s involvement in this affair? The Croppie knows a good bit about various graphics packages and begs to differ that the original high resolution base image would have been required to produce this fake. Indeed, the resolution of the overlays can be adjusted to match those of the base image.
The video below, produced by MrGyro, shows the images overlaid with the photoshopped fakes that were emailed to us. You will see that great care has been taken to change the colour of the field from brown to green using a simple filter available in any home user photo editing software package. The circle was then manipulated in order to finalise the deception.
To be 100% sure that we were indeed correct a local researcher went to the field in question. As expected, there was no circle and the field was in fact growing oil seed rape. The Crop Circle Connector works tirelessly to protect the integrity of it’s content that is why we do not post photos of crop circles unless we have adequate proof of the location. Some other sites are prepared to take the risk.
The Croppie knows that the Connector and Mr Gyro do not see eye to eye with Alexander. However, without evidence that Alexander has gone out of his way to produce the doctored photo it is premature to point the finger at him. Furthermore, it should be noted that whilst Alexander has used Photoshop to tidy images it is something different to produce a new fake circle such as this. A look at the work of someone called R71 on the DeviantArt Website reveals other people are capable of equally sound graphical trickery. (This is not to suggest R71 was involved here.)
As long as the various parties continue in their tiresome feud the finger pointing will carry on. The Connector may be right but the quality of evidence to carry the accusation is low. Perhaps this episode was concocted as a set-up against either the Connector, Alexander or both. We have seen similar things in the past.
Ultimately, is it worth the hassle? It’s surprising the Connector has even gone to the effort of compiling the statement. The amount of inconvenience was just above minimal. Let’s all remember that an element of deception is at the heart of the entire phenomenon. Steve, Stuart, Mark and others: with respect and best wishes, please sort the squabbling out.